I cut My Hair!! (A brief history lesson on black women and their hair)… By Nthabiseng Tselapedi

16 Mar


I cut My Hair (My Journey)

A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”- Coco Chanel

And I wanted to feel free and I wasn’t, all the intellectual black consciousness stuff I knew wasn’t helping! Maybe if I use the aesthetic side of it, it would……I cut my hair to save my hair!

It still didn’t…..No enlightenment there, I just missed my weaves! And easiness that came with and if I’m honest I felt less pretty *there I said it*………….. *hold your horses sisters, this is about me and in no way a reflection on blackness!*

But it got me thinking, maybe I’m afraid of self-reflection? Maybe I have been so indoctrinated that I couldn’t see the beauty that is in me?  For I felt, with my hair cut, more make-up was needed *this from a person who barely uses make up?*

I cut my hair! But the more I sit with this hairstyle, there more I learn about myself……for I would love to classify myself as socially black conscious! But here I am struggling with such a simple concept! What is black beauty?

I watched Chris Rock’s ‘good hair’ and I swore conversion back to my roots * whatever that is!?*, no relaxers, no weaves…….*I mean white people don’t love our hair right? And more importantly what are we teaching our kids about black hair?*


But it also got me thinking that limiting black consciousness to our hair is oppressive and I felt the need to research, I have kids after all, what will I tell my daughter? *roll with me and listen for a moment* “Did you know that in late 18th century Louisiana, black and multiracial women were ordered to cover their hair in public?” asks Cassandre Beccai (Check out her entire piece here : she found a “law” of sorts that demanded women of colour in Louisiana to cover their hair with a fabric cloth starting in 1789 as a part of what was called the Bando du buen gobierno (Edict for Good Government). These rules are called the “Tignon Laws” A tignon (pronounced “tiyon”) is a headdress.

Now, this is interesting to me *conscious sisters, whose blackness are you following?* A head wrap has been embraced as part of the ‘black culture’ for so long, as black women embracing their blackness………But it turns out it was born from oppression. *the following info nearly gave me a heart attack* In the 1860s, a style similar to the Afro was worn by the Circassian beauties, sometimes known as “Moss-haired girls”, a group of women exhibited in sideshow attractions in the United States by P. T. Barnum and others. These women were claimed to be from the Circassian people in the Northern Caucasus region, and were marketed to White audiences captivated by the “exotic East” as pure examples of the Caucasian race who were kept as sexual slaves in Turkish harems.

Anyway, problems with debates like weaves vs natural vs relaxed and yada yada! Takes from the real black issues, issues like how we are still slaves, to fashion, our own minds, hating our own kind *team yellow bones and blackberries* xenophobia, not being ‘black enough’, racism, being mocked for your accent etc……..Being black is still a battle! *I say this with such sadness*…….we fight with the world to accept us but we are still fighting with one another about hair and skin tone! We need to free our minds!


Clutch magazine writer, Shahida Muhammad, asserts, “Instead of debating on what’s better, let’s applaud the fact that we now have options in hair care that will inspire the next generations of Black girls to embrace their hair in ways that suit their preferences, and not imposed social ideals.”


A guest writer’s article titled, I Hate the Natural Hair Movement, reads:

The elitist feeling that is growing with the natural hair movement is just another way for us to divide. It smacks of all of the superficial marks of superiority we have lived by for so long. Light skin, dark skin, good hair, bad hair and now natural or relaxed hair. Enough already. We need to stop finding ways to exclude each other and work to be a stronger more prosperous Black community no matter how we look.

Lessons I learned:

I was more daring as a teen *but maybe that’s the nature of teens?* I had so many different hairstyles, short, almost bold, braids, dyed hair, bleached hair, purple, red etc. and never felt unpretty…..Ever! I need to be that girl again…daring…It doesn’t matter what your hairstyle looks like, it honestly doesn’t take away from your blackness…. *Hell, the world will never let you forget it* Check how Oprah ( was treated like thief *Oprah!!!!!! Say this with shock with me again…Oprah! Come on, say it like you mean it? Oprah fucke* Winfrey*


And I really, really take offense to being dictated!

And as for the weaved girls, who believe they’re better coz they have weaves, I can only feel sorry for you and empathise a bit………learn self-love and

Alopecia is real! And *if Naomi Campbell can’t fix that, ya’ll are in shyt! *I don’t say this in a mean way*

So, where do I stand and what have I learned? Fuck all or as we say it in SA Vokol? I still prefer both……The world is grey ek se! I love weaved with consciousness, I love natural with understanding *It’s a person’s choice* I love relaxed with natural curls…………..I just love my hair and the freedom I have to style it as and how I like! *period*


Article by Nthabiseng Komane

1 Comment

Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Feminism


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One response to “I cut My Hair!! (A brief history lesson on black women and their hair)… By Nthabiseng Tselapedi

  1. zvishuwo

    March 18, 2016 at 09:00

    Loved this. My sentiments exactly- though I never got to actually cutting my hair lol. Once blogged about this some time last year. You can read it here:



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